Vanessa and Jason Barsanti hope Palatine won't be chicken about their proposal to allow backyard hen houses.
"I've really learned to enjoy creating my own food," said Vanessa Barsanti who lives near the intersection of W. Daniels Road and S. Elm Street. "I didn't know what a real tomato tasted like until I started growing my own. I didn't even like them. It's so much better fresh."
The Barsantis have 13 fruit trees on their half-acre property. They have a huge garden. They grow blackberries and rasberries. But what they don't have are fresh eggs.
The Barsantis have written an amendment to Palatine's zoning code that would allow people to "harbor, keep or raise" female chickens. And the couple has started a Facebook page: "Bring Backyard Hens to Palatine".
"Consider being a part of this group to support green living in the Palatine area by allowing backyard hens!" the Facebook page states.
The Barsantis' amendement would require that hens be kept "within a pen, coop, building or other enclosure sufficient in size and strength to confine such animals to the owner's property."
"She's done a good bit of work laying out the pros of having chickens," said Palatine District 2 Council member Scott Lamerand.
Lamerand said he had little experience regulating fowl, but was keeping an open mind. He said he has asked village staff to look at the proposal and wants the village to contact other communities that have dealt with the issue.
In September 2010, . However, in February 2012 Arlington Heights voted no on allowing chicken coops.
Aside from great tasting fresh eggs, Barsanti said the food also is healthier. Other benefits she points to are natural insect control since hens eat grubs and earwigs.
Barsanti said many of the concerns about small hen houses are based on misconceptions. For example, she said roosters, not hens, are the noisy animals.
"We don't want roosters," she said.
She said her amendment deals with the few issues that can arise, such as requiring that all feed for hens be kept in rodent-proof containers. The amendment also would require that hen houses be at least 20 feet from any other residence.
Lamerand said the issue likely will come down to whether a residential property lot has the ability to raise food and deal with any issues – waste, noise – and how Palatine would regulate such a use.
Lamerand said the amendment still has to be reviewed and likely would not come before the Village Council for a few months.